Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why missing college this fall is a bad idea. Also in the news: Why you should get your finances in top shape now to refi your student loans, choosing the Medigap plan that’s right for you, and how to apply for a $1,000 grant if you’re a freelancer or gig economy worker.

Why Missing College This Fall Is a Bad Idea
You could be wasting time and money.

Get your finances in top shape now to refi your student loans
Get the best deal possible when the grace period ends.

‘Medigap’ insurance covers some Medicare costs. How to choose a plan that’s right for you
Covering some of your Medicare costs.

How to Apply for a $1,000 Grant if You’re a Freelancer or Gig Economy Worker
Apply for an EIDL.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files. Also in the news: 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic, Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud, and what to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week.

People with COVID-19 payment accommodations are finding mistakes in their credit files
One mistake could lower your credit score by nearly one hundred points.

Use these 6 tips to teach your kids lifelong money lessons during the pandemic
A unique opportunity.

Americans lost $77 million to Covid-19 fraud — and that’s just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
Scammers never rest.

What to do if you can’t pay your taxes next week
You have a few options.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How new grads can handle 3 essential post-college questions. Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on money goals and bank bonuses, the possibility of another stimulus check, and everything that goes away when coronavirus benefits end in July.

How New Grads Can Handle 3 Essential Post-College Questions
The real world is a bit different these days.

SmartMoney Podcast: Setting Money Goals at Milestone Birthdays, and Bagging Big Bucks with Bank Bonuses
Use your big birthday to set a new goal.

Is Another Stimulus Check Coming?
Maybe.

Here is everything that goes away when coronavirus benefits end in July
Start planning ahead for changes.

Q&A: The IRS is finally staffing up. Here’s how to get your coronavirus stimulus money

Dear Liz: We do not make enough income to file tax returns, so we used the IRS site to apply for our economic stimulus payment ($1,700 for one adult and one teenage child). We received a response email stating our information was received successfully by the IRS several weeks ago. We included our bank deposit information for a fast direct deposit but the money has not arrived and we hear that the government ran out of money. We are desperate. What can we do or who can we speak with about this delay?

Answer: The government did not run out of money, and at a minimum you should be able to file a tax return next year to get your stimulus payment as a refundable credit. Since you need the money now, though, you should follow up with the IRS.

The IRS has reopened the general taxpayer helpline that was shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it has also added thousands of phone reps to a special hotline to deal with stimulus payment problems: (800) 919-9835. That’s the number you should call to inquire about your payment.

(Previous columns have dealt with people’s refunds being held up because the IRS didn’t have enough workers to open its mail. Tax processing centers are reopening, but it will take awhile to work through the backlog. You can check the status of a refund through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS site or by calling (800) 829-1954.)

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to bank when you can’t go to the bank. Also in the news: Don’t fall for COVID-19 student loan relief scams, file your claim in the Yahoo data breach settlement by July 20, and how to hire a financial advisor who won’t rip you off.

How to Bank When You Can’t Go to the Bank
The pandemic has made in-person banking complicated.

Don’t Fall for COVID-19 Student Loan Relief Scams
Scammers are charging for free information.

File Your Claim in the Yahoo Data Breach Settlement by July 20
But don’t get too excited about the amount.

How to Hire a Financial Advisor Who Won’t Rip You Off
Trusting the right advisor.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Now is the time to teach your Gen-Z kids about credit. Also in the news: 1 in 4 retirees say COVID-19 may force them to go back to work, when and how should you report your no-show stimulus check to the IRS, and how to set up a zero-based budget.

Now Is the Time to Teach Your Gen-Z Kids About Credit
Preparing them for the real world.

1 in 4 Retirees Say COVID-19 May Force Them to Go Back to Work. What This Could Mean for You
A dramatic change in plans.

When and how should you report your no-show stimulus check to the IRS?
Tracking down your check.

How to set up a zero-based budget
Making your income and expenses match.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do if your kid’s emergency fund is you? Also in the news: Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus unemployment, how 3D home tours are allowing buyers to keep their distance, and why you should make a COVID-19 backup plan before returning to your office.

What to do if your kid’s emergency fund is you?
The Bank of Mom and Dad.

Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus unemployment
Over 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March.

How 3D home tours are allowing buyers to keep their distance
Staying safe while shopping for a new home.

Why you should make a COVID-19 backup plan before returning to your office
It’s a whole new working world.

When parents are the emergency fund

Financial fallout from the pandemic is hitting millennials hard — and many will soon turn to their parents for help, if they haven’t already.

Before parents ride to the rescue, financial planners urge them to map out a strategy that doesn’t just plug a short-term need but also makes sense in the long run.

“Often the heartstrings will get pulled — ‘I really have to help them!’— but it can be detrimental to the parent,” says certified financial planner Jeffrey L. Corliss of Westport, Connecticut.

In my latest for the Associated Press, why parents must be cautious when rescuing their children financially.

Find free, solid money advice in uncertain times

If you have money questions — and who among us doesn’t right now? — there are plenty of people willing to offer advice: friends, relatives and random strangers on the internet.

Finding someone who knows what they’re talking about, and who isn’t trying to take advantage of you, can be tougher. Fortunately, several groups of credentialed, trustworthy financial advisers are stepping up to offer free help.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to find the solid advice you need.

Q&A: Stimulus money for Social Security recipients is finally on the way

Dear Liz: My mother filed a paper return for 2019 in early March but hasn’t received her refund yet. Also, she hasn’t received the stimulus check to which she is entitled. She receives Supplemental Security Income via direct deposit and she included her banking info on her tax return for direct deposit. Given the IRS’ limited staffing, when might she receive her money? Will she still receive her stimulus check if many more months pass before the IRS processes her tax return?

Answer: Your mom may have already received her stimulus paymentby the time you read this. The Social Security Administration said Tuesday that it had started sending payments to SSI recipients.

The best way to check her refund status is via the IRS site. People who filed electronically can check their refund status 24 hours after filing. When a paper return is filed, people should wait four weeks before checking. She’ll need to enter her Social Security number, filing status and exact amount of her expected refund.